Rheineck-Walzenhausen rack railway
Infrastructure renewal project management
Switzerland has a lot of beautiful mountain scenery that you can explore comfortably by train. Amongst them is Europe’s highest train station atop of Jungfraujoch. Rack railways are a common sight in Switzerland in order to overcome large differences in altitude. These aren’t limited to the Alps. In fact it is a regional line near Lake Constance that will become the world’s first fully automated rack railway.
The infrastructure and rolling stock of the Rheineck-Walzenhausen (RhW) line have reached the end of their service life. Due to its operation costs, the owner and operator Appenzeller Bahnen AG (AB) examined whether it would be beneficial to fully automate the line or replace it with bus services. Automation turned out to be the better option and will be implemented until 2026.
The so-called "Walzehuusebähnli" will become the first rack railway with automation level 4 (fully automated, driverless operation). In addition to new rolling stock, its infrastructure must also be completely renewed and made fit for the future. The almost two-kilometre-long line consists of a 750-metre-long adhesion section and a 1200-metre-long rack-and-pinion section. The track will be completely renewed on both sections.
In addition to the carriageway, the refitting of two tunnels, various bridges and engineering structures are also part of the project. Furthermore, AB has to renew the catenary and safety systems as well as the entire electrical installations. RhW’s three stations are being redesigned and will be fully accessible by wheelchair in the future.
More information can be found on Appenzeller Bahnen's website (in German): www.appenzellerbahnen.ch/projektrhw